How much is enough?
Because every night when I go home, I see more people sleeping on the streets. I see more needles in our parks. I see the degradation of our public spaces, as they become unwelcome to our citizens. I listen to people whose housing goals keep slipping farther and farther away. I listen to my kids and their friends who say they can’t see a future here.
And I ask you – how much is enough… until we will decide to try something else?
For ten years, Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver have been in charge of our City. And while they have made progress on some issues, such as making our City more environmentally friendly, it is clear to me that on the big issues that matter – housing, homelessness, our core services – they have largely failed.
In ten years, our city has seen a marked decline. Things have gotten worse.
So why in the world would we keep going down this failed path?
We need change, and we need it now.
My opponent, Kennedy Stewart, claims to be an “Independent” candidate, but he is in fact the Vision candidate in all but name.
His housing plan is identical to Vision Vancouver’s failed policy. Here’s how Justin McElroy, Municipal Affairs Reporter for CBC News Vancouver put it.
But I have also heard loud and clear that people want to hear my ideas. They want to know what I will do, and how they will benefit.
So here are just a few:
- We can’t wait six years to relieve pressure on our housing rental market (which is how long Kennedy Stewart’s plan will take) – we need relief, now. That’s why I am proposing to immediately allow two secondary suites in every detached home, of which there are over 40,000. Even if only a relatively small percentage of people take advantage of this, it will still bring thousands of new units onto the market faster than any other proposal. And you don’t have to live in a secondary suite to benefit from this, because the immediate increase in supply means rents should start to come down across the city.
- Our families can’t find child care – and yet City Hall charges would-be new operators $42,600 to apply for an “air space parcel” – something they must do before starting a child care business. I believe that we need to empower our entrepreneurs to help solve our problems and provide the right incentives for the services we need. When it comes to child care, we need far more, not less, so charging $42,600 for a simple bureaucratic application makes no sense. I will waive this fee for new child care operators, and provide other incentives and simpler approvals. I will also prioritize under-served areas of Vancouver, and include child care as the norm in all city-led developments.
- Our small businesses are closing all over our city, and part of the reason is unfair property taxation. Currently, independent businesses can see their property taxes dramatically increase overnight, just because a new condo gets built down the street. When this happens, businesses often end up closing and the store owners, employees, and entire neighbourhood are worse off as a result. I will make small business taxes more consistent, predictable, and fair so that we can protect what makes our city so liveable and special.
- Our Seniors are the people who made our city great, and they should have the right to age in the community they call home. Unfortunately, too many seniors are being forced from their homes through “demovictions” or other forcible displacements. And nowhere is this as bad as Burnaby, where Kennedy Stewart sat idly by as MP for six years and watched it happen. We can’t let this happen to our seniors in Vancouver. This is why I will create a Displaced Tenant Policy to establish clear, consistent obligations for developers whose renovations or new construction displace existing tenants.
- We have an obligation to protect our environment, but for too long the City has seemed only interested in fighting costly legal battles with other levels of Government, benefiting only the lawyers. My environmental plan calls for adding 200,000 more trees – right here in our City – for added shade, greenery, and beauty. This will also reduce ambient air temperatures, help to clean our air and reduce noise pollution. And we will continue the goal of making Vancouver the greenest city in the world while making room for new thinking on how to accomplish this.
- We need leadership and bold action to deal with the multiple crises of homelessness, addictions, and mental health, but there is too much of a disconnect between what the politicians say at City Hall and what actually happens on the street. That is why I will open a satellite Mayor’s Office on the Downtown Eastside. And I will commit to spending at least one full day a month on the Downtown Eastside.
- Our citizens are having trouble making ends meet, and we have seen taxes go up and the City’s debt load rise… all the while without seeing a corresponding increase in service levels. Clearly, we can do better, which is why I will order a full, independent review of City finances to ensure tax dollars being spent responsibly and identify areas for improvement. And I will review City policies and programs introduced in the past 10 years to evaluate whether they are making Vancouver more livable and affordable.
I have the privilege this election to be running with the most diverse and talented slate of candidates of any team in the race. They’re super capable, incredibly bright, and all share a deep love of this city.
I know, in my heart, that things can get better in our city.
On Saturday, I humbly ask that you give my team and me a chance to make a difference.
for NPA Vancouver